This article will shed some light on the issue pertaining to faulty interior lights in your Jeep Wrangler JK.By Brett Foote – November 17, 2015
This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-present).
Interior lights are a convenient feature that we don’t think much about until they stop working properly. All of a sudden, your lights won’t come on when it’s dark and you’re trying to find something, or they won’t go off while you’re driving down the road in the dark. This is a frustrating and potentially dangerous situation, and it’s one that quite a few Wrangler JK owners have faced at some time. Thankfully, the culprit is usually the unnecessarily overcomplicated light knob or even something much simpler. Keep reading and we’ll walk you through the most common causes of an uncooperative interior light.
- New instrument cluster (if it’s an electrical issue)
- Replacement light switch (if it’s gone bad)
Step 1 – Check the rear dome light
It can be turned on by accident quite easily.
Unlike the front dome light, the rear dome light in the cargo area can be turned on or off by simply pressing it. The problem with that is that many people accidentally tap it when loading or unloading things from the back, and some folks even have children that love to play with the light. This can lead to a frustrating situation that makes you feel not-so-smart when you figure it out. This particular light will go off after around 15 minutes even if it is turned on.
Figure 1. Check your rear dome light to make sure it isn’t turned on.
If your dome light is off and the lights still aren’t functioning properly, move on to Step 2.
Step 2 – Check the light switch
The interior light functions can be manipulated using the switch.
Another confusing aspect of the JK’s interior lights is how you change their settings, which is accomplished by what position the light switch is in. To set the interior lights so that they come on when you open the door and go off afterwards (which is how 100% of owners want it to be), you must turn the knob to the “ON” position, then move it back one notch.
Figure 2. Check the interior light switch to make sure it’s in the proper position.
If your switch is in the proper place and the problem still persists, move on to Step 3.
Step 3 – Check the connectors in the door
These must be connected for the lights to come on when the door is opened.
It’s another obvious solution, but if you took the doors off your Jeep and forgot to reconnect the cables, your interior lights won’t come on when the doors are opened. Double check to make sure that these connectors are securely fastened and in good shape.
Figure 3. Make sure your door cables are reconnected after reinstalling the doors.
If your lights still aren’t working properly, move on to Step 4.
Step 4 – Check the instrument cluster and light switch
A ground fault will cause your lights to stop working.
If all else fails, you probably have an electrical issue. A ground fault in your instrument cluster can cause the interior lights to stop working altogether. Fixing this issue requires a new instrument cluster, so hopefully your Jeep is still under warranty if this is the cause of your problem. Another potential culprit is the light switch itself, which can go bad over time. Both of these issues are rare in newer vehicles, but there are documented cases out there to learn from.
Figure 4. A faulty instrument cluster ground can cause your interior lights to stop working.